How to Cope with the Pressure of Being in the Lead
Holding on to a lead can be as much about your mindset as it is your speed or tactics. Being at the front of the fleet is daunting, but to stay there its important to focus on the little things.
The anticipation of losing the lead you’ve achieved can create a multitude of thoughts that are unrelated to sailing smart and fast.
The anticipation of success can come with fears that are unrelated to getting to that finish line such as “Will I maintain this success in later events? What will people say? Do I really deserve this?”
Outcomes are largely based on uncontrollable variables, like how fast other people are sailing.
When you find yourself in the lead, you did something right, you focused on variables such as wind-shifts, current, and fleet positioning or such controllable variables as your boat-speed, boat-handling, and keeping calm.
Once you’re in the lead, you don’t want to start doing something different such as wasting mental space on what place you will or won’t finish.
You can influence your thoughts, but not control them and over time, you need to form new habits in thinking, if you’re going to play mind games with yourself, play games that work for you, not against you.
Picture what you want to happen, rather than what you want to avoid and your mind programs your body for action.
Practice mental skills, these are like any other skills, could you imagine having good roll tacks without practicing them?